Thanks to Stephanie Meyer for her marvelous characters. I enjoy putting them in impossible situations.

Thanks Tawny, you are the best!

Chapter 16:

Bella huffed again.

Over the clanking of pots and pans, her intermittent huffing and muttering was clearly audible.

Angela smiled.

Sitting at the dining table with books spread open, Angela was observing her best friend. She had never met anyone quite as unique as Bella. She was quiet, shy and introverted, but she was also passionate, stubborn and feisty. Over the several years Angela had known Bella, she had never seen her quite so disconcerted.

"Crap!" Bella cried when she realized she had added salt instead of powdered sugar to the berry cobbler she was making. "God damn it." She dumped the contents in the trash can. "Why does he have to be such an asshole!"

"Who are you talking about?" Angela asked innocently.

"You know who."

"Why are you so riled up about him? We live in a nation where douches like him are dime a dozen. He's statistically insignificant." "He's not insignificant when he makes my already bad day intolerable! You did not see how he spoke to Mr. Banner." "You'll be hearing from my father," she mimicked, thrusting her nose in the air, chest puffed out as she walked out the door of the kitchen.

Angela let lose a peal of laughter.

"No matter what happened, I'm sure you're exaggerating. No one, and I mean no one behaves like that!"

"Oh believe me, it happened exactly like that! He's a rude, arrogant, insensitive . . ." she ranted.

"Really, you seemed to be getting obsessed with him, just let it go!"

". . . jerk!" she finished.

"And now I've ruined dessert."

"Now then, what caused this tragedy?"

Both girls jumped, eyes wide turning to see Charlie leaning against the doorway, in his police uniform.

"Dad! How many times have I told you not to sneak up on me like that? You nearly gave us a heart attack!"

"And how many times have I told you girls to keep the front door locked? Anyone could walk right in and you girls wouldn't even notice. Bella, baby you have to practice basic safety and caution."

"It's Forks, the worst crime happening here is the punch getting spiked at prom."

Charlie's brow furrowed.

"Really? When did that happen? Kids these days . . ."

"It was just an example."

"Yeah, well, what's all this about a ruined dessert? Bells, I though I told you to stay out of the kitchen till you've had your stitches removed at least."

"My hand's all healed; I'll be getting the stitches out the day after tomorrow. It's all good."

"You see these grey hairs?" Charlie asked, pointing to the slight graying along his temples which gave him a rather distinguished look. "That's because of you, young lady. It's bad enough that you're so clumsy, but really, this aversion you have to blood is insane."

Bella simply rolled her eyes, moving to scrub the pots and pans in the sink. It really was tricky, trying to scrub dishes with one hand.

"Bells, you fainted after getting cut. Thank God, that Cullen boy was there to catch you and get you to the emergency room. Can you imagine what could have happened?"

Bella cringed as his voice became louder and sharper.

"You could have hit you head while falling, broken something, even as you continued to bleed. You do know that blood loss in great quantities can kill you, right? I had a twelve hour shift, I wouldn't have known. You could have gotten a concussion as you bled out and I wouldn't have known! Do you have any idea what it would like have been, walking in the door to see that? My baby girl lying in a pool of her own blood, unconscious?"

He was breathing hard, his eyes a bit wild and Bella felt a pang of regret. It was for the first time she had seen her father lose his legendry composure. It warmed her to realize that it was simply a manifestation of his love for her and reached to hug him impulsively, taking him by surprise.

Angela, the intuitive girl she was started gathering her books which were strewn across the dining table, feeling like she was intruding on a private moment.

"It's not like I have hemophilia, you know. The blood would have congealed," she mumbled into his chest.

"Oh, Bells," he sighed and held her before he became conscious of the fact that they had company.

Before he could say something, Angela spoke up.

"I should get going now. Mom will be worried if I stay too late."

"Stay for dinner, Angela. I'm sure Bella made enough," Charlie muttered, blushing something fierce at having lost his composure in front of a guest.

"I'd love to, if it's not too much trouble?" she asked, looking at Bella.
"Of course you are welcome to stay. The pork roast needs another half hour in the oven before it's done. We can set the table in the mean time."

"I'll just go freshen up before dinner."

Soon enough, the table was set and the smell of delicious pork roast wafted in the air.

"Smells good, Bells," said Charlie, moving away to change and freshen up.

"I wish I was half as good as Bella at cooking. I always seem to mess up," said Angela, taking an appreciate sniff.

Soon the dining room was filled with the clink of cutlery interspersed with the occasional groan of pleasure or a word of compliment for the chef.

"So, football season is coming up, Chief Swan. Will you be there to cheer our high school team?"

Charlie grimaced. Yes, he was a football fan, but Forks High School was nothing to write home about. He was wondering how he could escape from the invitation without sounding less than impressed with their home team when Angela spoke up again.

"You know, with Emmett Cullen, we might even stand a chance."

His brow furrowed as his mind brought up an image of a tall, brawny, muscular guy. His police instincts had labeled the guy immediately as 'trouble' but had not pondered on it much since he figured the boy would be in college.

"That guy is in high school? He sure as hell is too huge to look the part . . ."

"When did you see Emmett Cullen?" Bella asked.

"I visited Dr. Cullen at his home when they first moved in. He's an admirable man, what with two adopted children. And Mrs. Cullen, a lady through and through. Never thought a rich woman like her would be found with cookie dough on her hands, but she does make a mean chocolate cookie!"

"Why would you visit them? You don't normally visit new families that move here."

"No, not usually. But something turned up in the background check of his son. Just thought it was prudent to go over and introduce myself."

It had been an intimidation tactic on his part to ward of any future trouble in his town, but he had only found what seemed like a genuine, warm couple. Of course, the parents could never completely show what their children were like.

"Yeah, Edward does seem like the trouble causing type. He pissed off Bella pretty badly at school once," Angela said, looking innocent as a cherub.

Bella gaped at her, her mouth hanging open unattractively. What was going on here?

"The ginger? Bella what happened? I though he seemed the decent kind. It's that blonde boy that has a history. Dead silent he was too, definitely a trouble maker."

Bella took this information in with shock. Jasper had skeletons in his closet. Beside her, Angela seemed equally surprised that her random fishing trip had yielded such results.

A snap brought Bella out of her musings.

"What happened? You just zoned out there. Do I need to have words with this boy? Is he giving you too much grief? I can put on my uniform to make it official, you know."

"No dad, that's not needed. He's just a general pain in my backside and he did catch me at my worst. Nothing to worry about."

Satisfied, Charlie went back to his dinner.

That night, Bella tossed and turned in her bed. The fact that Jasper had something in his past to raise flags in his record deeply troubled her. What was more irksome was that she wasn't sure why she cared about it at all.


I will be busy with some paperwork associated related to finalizing my admissions. Hence, 'Immune' will not be updated this coming week.

I will also be revamping the initial few chapters, fusing them into longer chapters, since the length of the coming chapters will be more than the previous few.

Catch me on Twitter KT8812 for updates and tid-bits on Immune.